Belt

  • sandbags 062019SPRINGFIELD – Several counties along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers have been affected by massive flooding in recent weeks. State senators Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) and Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) from the Metro East area of Illinois issued the following statements regarding the state’s comprehensive effort to combat the rising water:

    “It’s overwhelming to see the impact the rivers have had on homes and businesses, but the work of the National Guard, IEMA, elected officials, law enforcement and volunteers proves that Madison County can handle anything,” Crowe said. “The men and women who have bagged sand, kept an eye on levees, supported citizens evacuating and kept everyone safe through this over 100-day progression are the true heroes.”

  • Senator BeltSPRINGFIELD – Service members and their spouses would have a designated liaison from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to ensure their licensure applications are managed efficiently under a measure from State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia).

    Currently, there is no 60-day expedited requirement for military members and their spouses, nor is there a military liaison position at the department. House Bill 1652 requires the department to expedite an application for a license from a service member or their spouse within 60 days after the date of application.

    “House Bill 1652 simply creates a smoother process for military personnel and expedites applications if they provide all the necessary documents,” Belt said. “Anything we can do to remove red tape and make the lives of our servicemen and women easier is worth doing.”

    HB 1652 passed the Senate Licensed Activities Committee this afternoon and is scheduled to head to the Senate floor for further debate.

  • belt 031319SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) is the sponsor of a measure that would provide feminine hygiene products free of charge at all homeless shelters that provide temporary housing assistance to women and girls.

    “Homeless women and girls face many challenges, but access to basic hygiene products shouldn’t be one of them,” Belt said, noting that these products are not covered by SNAP or other assistance programs. “It’s impossible to work toward self-sufficiency when you have to worry about basic hygiene. Many of us take that for granted.”

    House Bill 2656 creates the Feminine Hygiene Products for the Homeless Act. Under the proposal, homeless women and girls would have access to feminine products free of charge.

    HB 2656 passed the Senate Human Services Committee and is scheduled to go to the Senate floor for further debate.

  • old school 041019SPRINGFIELD – Impoverished school districts will be able to issue more bonds under a proposal sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia).

    To calculate their ability to issue bonds, a school district factors in 85 percent of the Equalized Assessed Valuations plus the district’s Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax. Belt’s proposal, Senate Bill 1746, would count state aid as part of the baseline on which a district can base that 85 percent EAV calculation.

    “High-poverty school districts have to deal with a variety of problems all year long,” Belt said. “Factoring state aid into the bond calculation process will provide them with additional cash flow to help with the student’s school experience and education.

    “If we do not help neglected school districts more, how can we expect things like the achievement gap to close or high graduation rates to rise?” Belt said. “It’s time that we make greater accommodations for the school districts that most need financial assistance.”

    The Senate approved the measure today. The bill moves to the House for consideration.

  • Senator BeltSPRINGFIELD – Veterans’ families and cemetery associations will be awarded an additional $25 to support the cost of transporting and erecting a veteran’s headstone or memorial marker under a proposal sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia).

    Currently, families and cemeteries are only awarded $100 to pay for the cost of transporting and erecting a veteran headstone or memorial marker.

    “Though there is no amount of money we could pay our dedicated veterans equal to the sacrifices they have made for our country, we can acknowledge that funeral costs have gradually increased over the years,” Belt said. “Veterans’ families had to watch their loved ones leave for battle, and it shouldn’t be a problem for us to award them more when they are laying their loved ones to rest.”

    The Senate approved the measure today. The bill moves to the House for consideration.

  • belt 040519EAST ST. LOUIS – American Bottoms Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (Sauget Sanitary Development & Research Association) is a recipient of a $327,671 grant for energy improvements, State Senator Christopher Belt revealed today.

    The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is taking advantage of the United States Department of Energy’s State Energy Program to reduce the energy burden for Illinois residents.

    “This grant will assist the facility in making energy efficiency upgrades to reduce the energy burden of our residents” Belt said. “Many low-income families suffer from high heating and electric bills and the energy efficiency upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant should reduce the energy cost for St. Clair County families.”

    The grant will run through May 2020 and is expected to save four wastewater treatment plants 6,610,374 kilowatt hours of energy annually, which amounts to about $408,000 savings annually.

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  • morrison belt 032019SPRINGFIELD – A tax credit introduced by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) and State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) that would incentivize businesses which offer paid leave of absences to their employees for donating an organ or bone marrow passed the Senate Revenue Committee this afternoon.

    “Last year, 3,402 Illinois residents were candidates for a kidney transplant. By the end of the year, however, only 798 people actually received a transplant. That represents less than a quarter of patients who are on the organ donation waiting list,” Morrison said.

  • Senator BeltSPRINGFIELD – To help inmates transition out of prison, State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) is sponsoring legislation to require the Department of Corrections (DOC) to screen inmates for Medicaid eligibility before being released.

    At this time, the Unified Code of Corrections requires the Department of Corrections (DOC) to give inmates the opportunity to apply for Medicaid at least 45 days before they are discharged and requires DOC to assist them in filling out their application.

    “We all know that this population has chronic and severe health issue ranging from HIV, Diabetes, and Hepatitis A & B, among other illnesses,” Belt said. “Applying for Medicaid can be overwhelming, but assisting inmates by screening and helping them apply means we could prevent these health problems.”

    Under this proposal, officials of the correctional institution or facility will have a committed person assigned to assist eligible inmates in completing a Medicaid application to ensure that they begin receiving benefits immediately upon release.

    “Upon release from prison or jail, individuals are often uninsured, making it difficult to access stable sources of care,” Belt said. “Increasing health coverage for this population helps contribute to improvements in their ability to access health facilities as well as greater stability in their lives, which will reduce recidivism rates. This amendment just makes sense from both a moral and economic perspective.”

    The Senate approved the measure today in a 54-0 vote. The bill moves to the House for consideration.

  • Senator BeltSPRINGFIELD – Veteran families will receive an additional $25 for the cost of transporting and erecting a veteran headstone or memorial marker under a proposal sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia).

    Currently, families only receive $100 to pay for the cost of transporting and erecting a veteran headstone or memorial marker.

    “We must always recognize and respect the service of those who keep us safe,” Belt said. “Veterans went out and fought for our country, and some lost their lives in the line of duty, so giving the families additional assistance is the least we can do. As costs for services and memorials go up, we should periodically make sure our assistance does as well.”

    Senate Bill 1244 passed the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee this afternoon and is scheduled to head to the Senate for further debate.

  • Senator BeltSPRINGFIELD – Impoverished school districts will receive more state aid under a proposal sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) that advanced yesterday in the Senate Education Committee.

    Currently, a school district is allowed to take 85 percent of the Equalized Assessed Valuations plus Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax to determine their ability to issue bonds. Belt’s proposal, Senate Bill 1746, would count state aid as part of baseline on which a district can base that 85 percent calculation.

    “These schools need the ability to issue more bonds, and the aid they receive should be factored into that process,” Belt said. “Districts that have a disadvantage in property-based funding shouldn’t have a disadvantage when it comes to issuing bonds.

    “This legislation does not require any additional state funds, nor redirect any funds from any other school district, but will significantly benefit these neglected school districts.”

    Senate Bill 1746 passed the Senate Education Committee and is scheduled to go to the Senate floor for further debate.

  • belt 011619BELLEVILLE – State Senator Christopher Belt joined Gov. JB Pritzker to voice his support for a plan that will benefit African-American and low-income Metro East residents through expanded job training opportunities.

    Belt (D-Cahokia) joined Gov. JB Pritzker at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville as he signed an executive that will strengthen the state’s workforce development and job creation.

    “To shift our state workforce issues, we have to shift our attention to the growing industries and apply all our resources to help them,” Belt said. “This is the first step we need to take to do that.”

    One of Belt priorities is to tackle the state’s workforce issues by meeting the needs of employers and market demand. The plan laid out today would help by directing the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity report on what industries are growing and make recommendations on how to improve job creation within 60 days.

    “I appreciate Gov. Pritzker paying attention to the needs of the Metro East and supporting job growth in the area,” Belt said. “Increasing job development in Illinois is the ultimate objective. By keeping our focus on working-class people, we’ll be able to help the local and state economy grow.”

  • belt 011519CAHOKIA – State Senator Christopher Belt is commending local school leaders for starting a Breakfast Beyond the Bell program to help students get a nutritious start to the day.

    Cahokia Unit School District 187 is starting the free and reduced breakfast program, which is federally funded and will provide breakfast to students who cannot afford it on a regular basis.

  • Senator Christopher BeltBELLEVILLE – Cahokia resident Christopher Belt was sworn in today to replace State Senator James F. Clayborne Jr. in the Illinois Senate.

    Clayborne, who has served the district since 1994, stepped down Jan. 1, and Belt was sworn in early to speed up the transition. The ceremony took place at the St. Clair County Courthouse in Belleville.

    “I look forward to hitting the ground running and representing the great people of the Metro East,” said Belt, who has been an advocate for the Illinois Metro East for 20 years.